Yoga's spirituality is no threat to Christianity


This is a superb, exemplary letter in the Vancouver Province, dated Jan. 12, 2007:

Hope everyone appreciates this. :slight_smile:

Sincerely, in Christ, Marilyn & Mark :wink: :cool:


It really depends on whom we are referring to though.

I have a friend who is doing this kind of things - she meditates 2 hours per day thinking that she’s communicating with God. However, not once she goes to the Church this year. Not to mention that she is very skeptical about Jesus is God.


Well Yoga practise itself is not bad, but as Christian we have to be careful to avoid spiritual walfare, coz it happened to my frez’s son who practise Tai Zhi and ended suffering from walfare, quite extreme even to his pastor!!!


Mark & Marilyn,

Would you happen to have the link to the original story which prompted the letter you linked? It might help with understanding what is being addressed.


This is from the Catholic website The Cross and the Veil:
"The eight stages of yoga include five external preparations and three internal aids to this ascent of the soul, as we would understand it. The two ethical preparatory stages of yoga involve detailed practices of renunciation, restraint from evil and religious observance. The next two steps, the most popularized and emphasized in the West, are physical postures and breath control techniques designed to open, cleanse and fortify variously described physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the human person. These aspects are referred to as bodies accessed via the seven chakras (wheels) or psycho-spiritual energy centers located throughout the body. The fifth stage is withdrawal of the senses. The next three stages involve deep concentration, deep meditation and lastly the state of samadhi or self-collectedness, in which the mediator and the object of meditation become one. This is the final stage before union with God or with the Self (as others believe) and the final release from the cycle of rebirth.
At the core of the philosophy of yoga are the beliefs in the law of karma, reincarnation, the potential for self-realization or enlightenment without external aid, and a practiced and finally ultimate withdrawal from the world which is deemed to be an illusion or projection.
The core beliefs of this ancient discipline are, at best, incompatible with Christian doctrine, having been negated by the radical entrance of Christ into human history. Through the Paschal Mystery of His death and resurrection, we and the physical world were redeemed from sin and we were enabled to enter heaven.
While, doctrinally, yoga is an ancient outdated attempt to attain divine union, practically, this fact means little to a lukewarm laity that is hungry for access to spiritual experiences that they believe (erroneously) their own tradition denies them. Our goal must not only be to point out the hazards of yogic philosophy and practice, but to replace any false concepts and influences by offering seekers the true Living Water that is the gospel and love of Jesus Christ. "
"At its worst, it is a tool of hidden and dangerous power that destroys minds and lives. At its heart, it is nothing more than a flawed shadow of the truth in comparison to the power of the Paschal Mystery and the sacraments. In any light, it is now incontrovertibly incompatible with and antithetical to the Christian walk. In closing, yoga and all New Age practices have filled the void that exists because we abandoned the greatest source of bliss and comfort, the Eucharist. A return to the Eucharist and a renewed program of instruction on contemplative prayer will bring many Catholics back from these deceptively beautiful practices and philosophies. "


I found this on the Vatican’s website. It lists Yoga as an oriental, para-religious movement. Definitely something not to be taken seriously by a Catholic, especially when I see what other groups make the list of para-religious movements.

Yes, the Vatican published the list in French, but it’s pretty easy to puzzle out.


3.1 Les mouvements para-religieux :
**·**Les mouvements orientaux :
–[FONT=Times] la méditation transcendantale du Guru Maharishi, Mahesh Yogi,
–[FONT=Times] la Foi Mondiale Bahiae de Baha’ullah,
–[FONT=Times] l’association pour l’unification du christianisme mondial (secte Moon),
–[FONT=Times] l’Ordre Tchan (tendance bouddhiste),
–[FONT=Times] le Yoga.

·[FONT=Times]Les mouvements occultes, sociétés secrètes :
–[FONT=Times] la Franc-Maçonnerie,
–[FONT=Times] l’ordre Rosicrucien Amorc.

·[FONT=Times]Les mouvements pseudo-chrétiens :
–[FONT=Times] la scientologie,
–[FONT=Times] le monde à venir de Mr Herbert W. Amstrong (ou la pure vérité ou Église de Dieu Universelle),
–[FONT=Times] la parole parlée de William Branham,
–[FONT=Times] les mormons (l’Église de Jésus-Christ des saints des derniers jours),
–[FONT=Times] les témoins de Jehovah de Charles Taze Russel,
–[FONT=Times] les adventistes.

·[FONT=Times]Les mouvements pseudo-catholiques :
–[FONT=Times] les vieux catholiques,
–[FONT=Times] les Mariavites,
–[FONT=Times] les Gallicans.

·[FONT=Times]Les mouvements africains :
–[FONT=Times] l’Eboga,
–[FONT=Times] le maraboutisme,
–[FONT=Times] les guérisseurs anti-sorciers,
–[FONT=Times] le fétichisme,
–[FONT=Times] les confréries des sorciers.


Do you mean grammatically, or are you referring to its content?

IMHO, its content is a superb example of exactly how confused and mistaken some Catholics are.

In what regard?


I actually disagree with the writer of this article, since he seems to be advocating a belief that the God of the Bible is not the revealed God, which of course a Catholic can never accept.

However, I do think that if a person wants to do a few poses from yoga to build their flexibillity and strength, and he also makes an effort to breathe correctly (with the diaphragm and not with the chest) then I think that this activity would not necessarily pose a serious risk to their faith.

It depends on why the person is doing the yoga poses and what they hope to gain from doing the practice, imho, and how deeply they view yoga as a spiritual practice vs a physical one.



47. A balanced attitude

Dialogue requires, on the part of Christians as well as of the followers of other traditions, a balanced attitude. They should be neither ingenuous nor overly critical, but open and receptive. Unselfishness and impartiality, acceptance of differences and of possible contradictions, have already been mentioned. The will to engage together in commitment to the truth and the readiness to allow oneself to be transformed by the encounter are other dispositions required.

48. Religious conviction

This does not mean that in entering into dialogue the partners should lay aside their respective religious convictions. The opposite is true: the sincerity of interreligious dialogue requires that each enters into it with the integrity of his or her own faith. At the same time, while remaining firm in their belief that in Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man (cf. 1 Tm 2:4-6), the fullness of revelation has been given to them, Christians must remember that God has also manifested himself in some way to the followers of other religious traditions. Consequently, it is with receptive minds that they approach the convictions and values of others.

49. Openness to truth

Moreover, the fullness of truth received in Jesus Christ does not give individual Christians the guarantee that they have grasped that truth fully. In the last analysis truth is not a thing we possess, but a person by whom we must allow ourselves to be possessed. This is an unending process. While keeping their identity intact, Christians must be prepared to learn and to receive from and through others the positive values of their traditions. Through dialogue they may be moved to give up ingrained prejudices, to revise preconceived ideas, and even sometimes to allow the understanding of their faith to be purified.


Yoga’s spirituality is no threat to Christianity

I know that and you know that but please do not tell EWTN.

They are convinced otherwise. :confused:


I don’t think it’s an either/or, but I completely agree with the positive recommendations of the article.

My dad’s cousin and her husband converted to Sufi Islam, because, so they said, they found a profound spirituality there that they hadn’t found in Christianity. My cousin was Methodist but her husband was Catholic. I think the article is right that Catholics of the last couple of generations have become cut off from much of their rightful heritage and that the recovery of that heritage is of paramount importance. However, I think we can ill afford to do without truth, beauty, and goodness wherever we find them.

In Christ,



If you read the whole thing, you’ll see that it’s a plenary session on unbelief throughout the world, and different parts of the Church were asked to submit answers to a questionnaire. The section in French is by the rector of a seminary in Cameroon, who spoke to four seminary students and consulted a doctoral dissertation by a priest. In other words, this is in no sense official Catholic teaching–it is the opinion of one particular group of Catholics in one particular part of the world.

Just because something is on the Vatican website doesn’t make it official teaching. You’re really stretching if this is the best you can do.



Unfortunately, the letter does more to confirm than to allay suspicions of yoga on the part of orthodox Christians. We believe that the God revealed in the Bible is the true God and that Jesus Christ, the Word Incarante, is the perfect revelation of that God. All other manifestations of God are subordinate to that supreme revelation and must be judged as authentic or inauthentic insofar as they conform to it.

I don’t think yoga contradicts Christianity. But I understand why people think it does when they read assurances like this, which betray a less than orthodox understanding of Christianity in the first place.



I could see why your Catholic cousin’s husband might become Sufi, but why should your Methodist cousin leave Methodism to become Sufi? Why couldn’t she be both Methodist and Sufi? (Perhaps she joined a Sufi lineage that required her to become Muslim as well?)


I appreciate your response. I don’t read much French, so I couldn’t really make out the text, just the lists.

Whatever the original source, the Vatican didn’t seem to have a problem with the conclusions. I suspect that if they had, this document would not have been published on their official website.


I read more than once that each yoga position is a prayer to one of 330 million gods that Hindus worship. How can our Catholic Faith be incorporated into this pagan form of worship. That truly becomes idol worshipping with out you even being aware of it.“Romans 12:1-2 says we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God,” Even Pope Benedict XVI warned against the practice of Yoga, saying it do it doesn’t mean you should do it. This is re"can degenerate into a cult of the body.” This is really dangerous to our faith, we can do other forms of exercise.
So tell me where is the reconciling of such a practice to our religion. There isn’t! You are just deluding yourself to make something so new age ok.
I am sure this will offend many people that like to do yoga, but cant serve 2 masters. IMO.


Do you believe everything you read?:cool:


I believe it when its coming from a well rounded priest like Father Mitch Pacwa. In his book Catholics and New Age. Also from many Hindus themselves.:eek:


Well, let me just say that the Hindu term for ‘god’, ‘deva’, is more analogous to the Christian term ‘angel’, not ‘God’. Not everyone who claims to be of a certain religion, fully understands how to communicate and translate the teachings and terms of that religion.:smiley:


Well you probably read that and believed it. Yoga is a form of worship. Whether it is to a ‘angel’ or to a ‘god’. It is not mearly for exercise as some like to believe.

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